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on 14 September 2011
This movie was first released in 1955(2011), in Widescreen, Technicolour and runs 85 minutes. The sound and picture quality are very good. The extras are scene selection and special features. The film starts when Garode(DOUGLAS SPENCER) was bringing in hides on his horses, riding through Colorado Valley, when he sees the US Cavalry coming towards him. Captain Harper(WILLIAM TALMAN) says he was going to the isolated river outpost and Garode asks permission to join him and his men. Soon they arrive at the body of Corporal Davis from the outpost, lying dead with an arrow in his back, from the Yute Indians. A little further, they scout the Fort from the hills to look for danger. Capt Harper sends one of his men back to Fort Defiance for help. Then they send the dead corporal strapped into a horse towards this isolated Cavalry Fort, to see the response from the Indians and sure-enough the Indians chase after that horse. Capt Harper and his men rush towards the Fort, but the Indians soon realise they have been tricked and come back charging them. Capt Harper's men enter the Fort and with help of soldiers there, repel the Indian attack. Lt Wayne Ford(REX REESON) reports to Capt Harper. Major Evan's daughter, Laura Evans(PIPER LAURIE) was nursing the wounded. Lt Ford tells Capt Harper that they were holding Brett Halliday(DANA ANDREWS) for a court marshall after 'War Cloud' chief attacked them. Capt Halliday claims that the cavalry provoked the attack on the Indians and he tried to protect the women and children. Capt Harper blames Halliday for the death of his brother. Harper sends the Indian scout Delche(PAT HOGAN) to find out what the Indians were upto, who returns eventually with a captive prisoner(PETER COE) as an Indian lookout, who refuses to talk. Inorder to save themselves from whole Apache nation attack, the cavalry decide to take 3 boats onto the Colorado river. As they are taking the boats towards the Colorado River, the Indians attack inorder to prevent them going towards Fort Marble.
This story of GEORGE W GEORGE is beautifully photographed in Technicolour by CLIFFORD STINE and briskly directed by JERRY HOPPER. The action scenes are very good and skinman Douglas Spence gives a good performance.
DANA ANDREWS(CARVER DANA ANDREWS) was born on 1.1.1909 on a farmstead outside Collins Covington County, Mississippi. The family moved to Huntsville, Texas. He studied business administration in Houston, Texas, briefly working as an accountant. In 1931, he moved to Los Angeles to become a singer. Later, he studied at Pasadena Playhouse. He signed contract with Samuel Goldwyn for 9 years, with his first film in 1940-'The Westerner'. More films followed. In 1950's, he exclusively worked in 'B' movies. By 1970, he worked in soap operas. Andrews was married to JANET MURRAY in 1932, but she died in 1935, after their son 'DAVID' was born(David died in 1964 -brain haemorrhage). On 17.11.1939, Andrews re-married actress MARY TODD. They had 3 children, Katherine(1942),Stephen(1944) and Susan(1948). Andrews suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died on 17.12.1992, aged 83, of Congestive heart failure and pneumonia, in Los Alamitos, California.
Some of Dana Andrews films are:-
(1) The Westerner, 1940
(2) The Ox-Bow Incident, 1943
(3) Canyon Passage, 1946
(4) Duel in the Jungle, 1954
(5) Comanche, 1956
(6) The Crowded Sky, 1960
(7) Battle of the Bulge, 1965
(8) The Devil's Brigade, 1968
(9) Airport 1975, 1974
(10)The Pilot, 1979
Watch and ENJOY.
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on 18 September 2011
Once again, Pegasus have come up with the goods with Smoke Signal. They've used an OAR anamorphic print with strong colours and it looks very good throughout. Some extras would be welcome in future, but the range of westerns they've released this autumn has been excellent. I only hope they continue to release quality discs in other genres, such as horror and film noir.
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on 24 May 2017
Very good
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on 21 September 2011
Above average 1950's western starring sturdy leading man Dana Andrews and lovely Piper Laurie. Briefly, Andrews is accused of abandoning his people in favour of the indians and when captured, a martinet captain (William Talman) intends to see him court-martialled. Naturally, Andrews is innocent and proves his worth before the final reel. Refreshing firstly to see this western released. Secondly, the quality of the print is very good in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. I've long awaited a UK DVD release of this film and thoroughly recommended it especially to western fans. Bring on, Dawn at Socorro!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 November 2011
Smoke Signal is directed by Jerry Hooper and co-written by George F. Slavin and George W. George. It stars Dana Andrews, Piper Laurie, William Talman, Rex Reason, Milburn Stone and Douglas Spencer. A Technicolor production that's primarily filmed at the Grand Canyon of The Colorado, cinematography is by Clifford Stein and musical supervision is provided by Joseph Gershenson.

After their fort is attacked by Indians a small group of survivors escape to the wild Colorado River. Their only hope of survival is to tackle the unforgiving stretch of water whilst holding off the pursuing enemy. But can they survive each other first?

Stay alive Captain-to out think them, step by step.

Very much a mixed bag in terms of production, Smoke Signal is enjoyable enough for the undemanding Western fan. The story is a safe one as it focuses on a fractured group dynamic having to come together in order to survive the terrain and hold off the enemy pursuing them. The group consists of a pig-headed Captain (Talman), soldiers with prejudice, a pretty lady (Laurie), a trapper (Spencer) and a prisoner (Andrews), the latter of which is a despised "Indian Lover" because of him having been married to an Indian woman and therefore lived with the Ute tribe. Many human traits and qualities will be tested on this journey, the narrative strong enough to warrant the interest being held to see how it will all pan out.

The central idea and its themes has been done far better before in films like The Last Wagon and River of No Return, to name just two. However, Smoke Signal does feature unique location work on the Big Bend of the Colorado River (Stine doing fine photography work), and it's good to see a rarely seen tribe of Indians featured in a Western, the Utes. Bonus, too, is Talman (The Hitch-Hiker), who gets a good meaty part to show what he could give as an actor. Yet the makers give good stuff with one hand and take it away with the other. Great scenery is coupled with poor back projection shots, dummies are all too evident and Laurie is arguably the ultimate token lone female character in a Western. Even the normally reliable Andrews looks weary throughout, were it not for Talman and Spencer, this would fall into the badly acted drawer.

Western fans don't demand too much from a "B" production, but some of the efforts here are dangerously close to being "Z" grade. A shame because the strong story and the real location photography carry a high interest factor for the genre follower. A better director than Hooper would have certainly improved things, or at the least someone who could stitch things together more knowingly with tricks of the trade. The Pegasus DVD release has a decent print, not pristine, but clear in picture and colour levels. It's not one to recommend with great confidence to like minded Western fans, but there's enough in here to rank it just above average. 6/10
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on 31 May 2012
After a massacre at their fort by Ute Indians, a small handful of surviving soldiers plus a prisoner (Dana Andrews) awaiting court martial, a girl (Piper Laurie) and a skin hunter (Douglas Spencer) flee in canoes down the treacherous, uncharted Colorado river in an escape attempt. Thus, the film becomes more of an adventure than a traditional western as the bulk of the film takes place on the river. While the locations (Utah and Arizona) are lend authenticity to the film, the majority of the river rapids sequences are obviously done in a studio against projected backdrops which lessens the excitement. Still, some suspense is generated, not only by the "will they or will they not make it" plot but also by the tension between Andrews and the martinet Captain (William Talman) determined to bring Andrews through to court martial. Perhaps it is a routine western but it's compact and efficient and successfully completes its modest ambitions. Directed by Jerry Hopper and with Rex Reason (as Laurie's slimy fiancee), Robert J. Wilke, Milburn Stone and William Schallert. A western that I think non-western fans might enjoy even more than western fans.

Unfortunately, the Suevia DVD from Spain isn't in its original theatrical ratio (1.85) which makes the framing tight but it's eminently watchable.
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Pegasus entertainment seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment with their no frills DVD releases of long forgotten westerns that a nostalgic nerdie like me just lap up. They have quite rightly been criticised in the past for the poor picture quality of some of their releases with the result they are now being more selective about the films they choose. This one is a good example, with vibrant colour cinematography of decent quality. Shot in and around the Grand Canyon it all looks very nice in what is certainly a somewhat unusual western.

The story follows the attempts of a small besieged cavalry unit to escape the war like clutches of Ute indians. Unfortunately their only means of escape is down the treacherous canyon rapids of a nearby river. Their mission is complicated further by having to escort indian loving renegade prisoner Dana Andrews with them for court martial. Andrews might just be in cahoots with the Utes, but he also seems to be a pretty good man to have at your side when you are in a fix. The films main strength lies in its unusual location filming and the chosen method of escape. The script may have borrowed a little from the Otto Preminger's "River of no Return" made the year before, which has Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe taking the river route to escape the clutches of hostile indians. In this film a more demure Piper Laurie takes the Marilyn Monroe role. In one of her earlier roles the young Laurie was making back to back westerns after "Dawn at Socorro". Nice to see she is still making films after all these years!

The action is presided over by director Jerry Hopper, better known for his efforts in TV series like "Wagon Train" and "The Rifleman", although he did also make "Pony Express"(53) with Charlton Heston. Dana Andrews is solid as the virile lead whose past is slowly unravelled in the same way that Richard Widmark's Comanche Todd was in Delmer Daves superior "The Last Wagon". The support cast is not perhaps the strongest although Ray Milland's stand in Douglas Spencer does well as a grizzled mountain man helping out, and Robert J Wilke lends his considerable brooding presence as a good guy for a change. The film contains an awful lot of glaringly obvious back projection, and a few dummies get thrown about in the heat of the action. The film also contains one of the most rudimentary budget forts I have ever seen in a movie, which looks as though it was hastily constructed by a bunch of apprentice Neanderthal stone age builders. Never mind though, this is the wonderful stuff that we love the B westerns for! This a superior B western and a worthy addition to Pegasus's growing collection of 'rescued from oblivion' westerns. Also worth watching is Dana Andrew's "Canyon Passage". Come on Pegasus there are bucket loads more of westerns like this one out there. "The Naked Dawn", "The Halliday Brand" and Ray Milland's "A man Alone" spring immediately to mind out of many. Keep up the good work!
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on 16 January 2012
like the other reviews have said another nice release from pegasus ,please keep it up. yet another film i had not seen and its quite enjoyable and something a bit different with the river escape from pursuing indians .
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 September 2011
My copy arrived rather belatedly today and the good news is - It's another really good print - sound and picture - couryesy of course of Universal. Whatever - It's a long unseen good example of Universals many A/B westerns of the 50's. Dana Andrews isn't most peoples ideal westerner, but he's OK and it's a good plot and good western cast (Wilke/Schallert/Reason/Talman etc.) It's no big classic, but it's unpretentious entertainment at a very good price (from Amazon anyway). Recomended to western fans. Enjoy.
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on 9 August 2015
Not the greatest western ever made but certainly not the worst either. It looked pretty good on our TV. The only disappointment with some of these older films is no extras and to be honest I'm not a person that looks for a lot of extras but some background information about some of the main players would be welcome; and maybe some trailers for other product in the same vein.
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